Though it has been over a decade since Who Moved My Cheese? was published, the lessons it can teach small business about change management still hold good. Dr. Spencer Johnson authored Who Moved My Cheese? in 1998, to create a generic guide on change management that would create a lasting impact.
The book remained a New York Times Bestseller for five continuous years and is still considered one of the best business tools in spite of being simplistic. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India are at the eye of the storm when it comes to changes. They face constant political, legal, economic, social, technological and even cultural changes, though they still function in familiar territory.
These changes are more often than not, fast to happen. For instance, most of the core business functions in the small business sector are now getting digitized. Be it accounting or marketing, companies are forced to take it online in order to outdo their competition and carry on.
While a few thrive on change, many adapt slowly, reluctantly and sometimes do not adapt to the changes at all! At a time when a company’s very survival depends on its ability to not reactively adapt but proactively go after change, Who Moved My Cheese? is a resourceful read on organizational change management.
The book sums up the universal laws for tackling change with “The Handwriting on the Wall,” where one of the characters writes messages as he cautiously changes his habits and thought process.
Change Happens This literally means change is the only permanent thing, so one might as well start looking forward to it! For a small business it is important to understand this and be flexible.
Anticipate Change Instead of waiting of a wave of change to come and hit when you least expect it; keep a keen eye out for change. Follow industry trends both locally and globally. Make sure you start innovating systems and processes that are in place.
Monitor Change Anticipating change gives you an insight into exactly when you need to abandon the old and switch to the new. This will help you realize when your goals, way of working and communicating and your technology have become obsolete or stale.
Adapt to Change Quickly The quicker you adapt to change and stop missing an old habit, the more effective you can get in a newer arena.
Change Once you move on to a fresher way of doing things, you can leave any insecurities behind and have fun staying ahead of the pack. This way make you can beat the competitors and get there first.
Enjoy Change This message urges one to enjoy the process of change and the place where you have reached now. This positivity will increase the effectiveness of you, your employees and your entire organization.
Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again Never get too comfortable and complacent about anything. Repeat the entire exercise, since change is permanent!